Changes to Foyles' buying, as it moves to Waterstones practices

Changes to Foyles' buying, as it moves to Waterstones practices

Foyles is to move over to Waterstones buying practices following an "extensive review" of the Foyles business, which sees a "small" number of back office roles put at risk of redundancy. The buying process for Foyles will now work in a similar way as it does for fellow Waterstones-owned bookshops Hatchards and Hodges Figgis, with the initial layer of ordering done by the central team in Piccadilly rather than by Foyles buyers. Bespoke ordering will then be layered on top. 

As a result of the changes the need for sales reps to make appointments and subscribe directly with Foyles ceased as of last week (beginning Monday 23rd September).

The integration "will deliver much-needed improvements across all sales routes and improve service levels to our customers", according to Foyles head of buying Jasper Sutcliffe, in a letter sent to publishers. 

Waterstones bought Foyles in September 2018 for an undisclosed sum. In the 12 months since, an extensive review has been conducted and buying practices will now change with the Foyles team trained on Waterstones' ordering system, Atlas.

Sutcliffe said: "As a result of this review Foyles will be migrating fully to the buying tool, Atlas, and Waterstones’ central stock management system, Phoenix, with stock being supplied via the Waterstones central hub." 

His letter adds: "All of these changes are non-visible to Foyles customers and so the look and feel of our bookshops will remain unchanged, maintaining the uniqueness of the Foyles brand and experience. Foyles will of course still need to see new titles in advance of publication and I will be in touch directly to discuss with you how this will be done to ensure that the stated aim of securing the long-term future of Foyles is assured."

A Foyles spokesman said: "We are committed to ensuring the longevity of the Foyles brand and personality. As such the Foyles estate is now being supplied via the Waterstones Hub which allows us to make some much-needed improvements for our customers.  As part of this process, we have similarly aligned various other back office systems which has led to a small number of roles at risk for redundancy. We are doing everything we can to find alternative positions for those affected wherever possible. Through these changes we hope to ensure our shops remain vibrant bookshops true to the Foyles brand."

The roles at risk of redundancy are understood to include IT and finance. 

The Foyles estate has been supplied with books through the Waterstones central hub in Burton-on-Trent since June 2019.

When the Foyles acquisition was announced a year ago, concerns were expressed about the continuance of its individual character and buying diversity under its new ownership.